Major League Soccer (MLS) has reportedly started negotiations with the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) on potentially substantial pay cuts for players arising from the current global outbreak of COVID-19.
The talks are said to have taken place over a conference call late last week involving MLS commissioner Don Garber, deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, and the executive board of MLSPA.
A variety of topics, including the return-to-play scenarios and the competition format, are thought to have been discussed during the conference. In addition, it also addressed a broad overview of what the MLS is seeking in terms of wage reductions.
Abbott spoke to ESPN, stating: “MLS remains focused on exploring a wide variety of formats for playing the entire 2020 season, including pushing back MLS Cup into December or later. Based on the most recent government guidance, we have extended the moratorium on matches until at least June 8.
“Like all leagues, we are in discussion with our players about changes to player compensation due to the financial impact on the league and our clubs from the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players, opportunity to earn full salary in the scenario where all matches are played with fans, and in particular provides protection for the players at the lower end of the salary scale.”
As it stands, the new proposal will see players earning less than $100,000 remain unchanged, with players making over $100,000 not dropping below the level on their salaries.
That said, it is claimed that the league is asking the majority of its players to take a pay cut of as much as 50 percent. It will only come into effect, however, if future season games are cancelled, with the prospect of playing games behind closed doors also impacting the severity of salary cuts for players.
With the current total league payroll valued at more than $310 m the proposal will see the team raising the overall player payroll by $150 m if enforced.
The MLSPA has yet to react or provide any comment about reported wage cuts for the player.